Hurt People hurt people. That's one of the things I was reminded of at this weekend's Apprentice Community Conference. That realization doesn't make the hurt any less painful but it does help me to remember that many people who hurt someone often do so out of their own pain and hurt.
It was also helpful to be reminded that those things which upset us the most are probably some of the very same things we struggle with ourselves. Paul says as much in Romans 2:1.
Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things. Romans 2:1 (NRSV)
I may really dislike short-tempered, angry people but if I'm totally honest with myself, I too have often been short-tempered and angry with those closest to me. It's pretty easy for me to point out the faults of those around me but it's harder to look at myself. As Paul says "you, the judge, are doing the very same things." Ouch. So true.
Jim Smith, in his workshop on forgiveness, shared his own spiritual discipline that helps him to forgive those who have wronged him. Each week, he prays and asks the Lord to show him anyone whom he has not forgiven. As you may have guessed, each week a new name comes to mind or a new face of someone he's not forgiven. He then begins to work through the process of forgiveness by remembering things like "hurt people, hurt people", and "refusing to forgive does not punish the offender but only hurts us" and "forgivness is a long process."
Needless to say, this has me thinking a lot about forgiveness. I spent some time this morning just looking at Scripture on that topic. Here are a few examples of what I found.
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14 (NIV)
4 But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you. Psalm 130:4 (NIV)
13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13 (NIV)
25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25 (NIV)
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
Just in those verses, there's much to think about. One thing is obvious to me--I have a lot of work to do in this area of forgiveness. It's time to forgive.